Shanghai and Longji Rice Terraces

While arriving in China, our ship arrived at the wrong pilot station. The weather deteriorated, and as our boat must approach Shanghai on High Tide, our arrival was delayed by 12 hours. The result was missing our Sino-American relations field lab entirely (which we will be making up in the classroom).

1The second day, we went to the classical gardens of Suzhou before our flight to Guilin. Unfortunately it was not only rainy, but also not a great season to see the gardens. Supposedly the summertime is much better than wintertime to go. Right outside the gardens were woodworkers as well as many street food venders.
Below are 发财猪- literally ‘get rich pigs’ – one of my favorite street foods. Not necessarily for the good luck and bean filled inside, but rather for the cuteness of the outside. Aren’t they just adorable?

2Following our afternoon in Suzhou we took a mixture of buses, trains, and the MagLev train to the airport. This magnetic levitating train took us over 300 mph above the city of Shanghai using a form of artificial gravity to levitate us slightly above the track and reduce friction. While I’m not completely certain how it worked, it felt very high-tech. What would’ve been an hour drive took only eight minutes by MagLev. We flew past cars driving at high speeds like they were turtles, and soon were on our way flying to Guilin.

While I enjoyed the city of Guilin, it was bigger and more commercialized than I expected. It wasn’t until the second day when we escaped to the mountains that I really came to like the Guangxi Province.

3Longji terraces were first cultivated in the Yuan Dynasty during the 13th century. Since then the Zhuang and Yao (ethnic minorities) have been working the land. While most terraces are used for growing rice, some are also used for raising other vegetables.

4They are designed in different shapes, including towers (one acre), and snails (three acres). Despite the terraces increasingly becoming a tourist destination, I ran into few people during my trip here.

5I’ll be in Vietnam for the next week, a country I’m very looking forward to studying in. We’ll be visiting all of Saigon’s war museums for my America in the World class to analyze Vietnam’s spin on the war, as well as visiting the Cu Chi tunnels.

An excellent blog to follow for anyone interested is Semester at Sea’s official blog, News from the Helm. One of their latest videos, From Caterpillar to Kimino, was filmed during my cultural anthropology field lab. I highly recommend checking it out!

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